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Bihar becomes second state to ratify GST 
Bihar state legislature ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST in a special one-day session. With this, it has become the first non-Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state to ratify the GST. The GST Bill needs to be ratified by at least 15 state legislatures before the President can notify the GST Council, which will then decide the new tax rate and other issues. The government intends to receive the required ratifications in the coming month. Last week, Assam became the first state to ratify the Bill.

Source: Business Standard dated 16 August 2016

GST ratification: States to call special assembly sessions
After Assam became the first state to ratify the Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill for GST, other states have also lined up their tentative schedule for the ratification in their respective state assemblies. Other states that have announced plans to hold a special assembly session include Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Jharkhand assembly, whose monsoon session ended on 29 July, is third in line to ratify the Bill. They are calling a special one-day session on August 17.

Source: The Indian Express dated 16 August 2016

GST Network to start collecting traders’ data for issuing tax IDs
The network that forms the information technology backbone of the GST will start a nationwide drive, in collaboration with state governments, to collect information on eight million traders and issue them Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) as India prepares to implement GST from the next fiscal year. All traders will need a GST ID number - a 15-digit PAN-based number - to operate under GST, which is expected to come into effect on 1 April 2017.

Source: Livemint dated 12 August 2016

Assam becomes the first state to ratify GST
Finance Minister of Assam Himanta Sarma tweeted that Assam had become the first state to ratify the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill. It was the last day of Assam’s ongoing legislative assembly session, its first full session after the new Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government was sworn in after the assembly polls in May. Sarma tweeted at 12 in the afternoon saying he was, “Proud that Assam is the first state to ratify the historic GST Bill, which promises to transform India”. In another tweet, Sarma said: “Happy to share that Assam assembly has unanimously ratified the GST Bill”.

Source: Business Standard dated 12 August 2016

Arvind Subramanian panel doesn’t want GST rate to exceed 20%: Report
With the government getting ready to roll out GST from 1 April 2017, the tax rate may not be over 20%. According to an Economic Times report, the Chief Economic Adviser-led panel said that a GST rate
above 20% would be counterproductive. The panel also mentioned that compensation and new cesses warrant a rate of under 20%. “Revenue from new cesses will be offset by the removal of exemptions,” the panel has said.

Source: The Financial Express dated 11 August 2016

States can no longer offer tax holidays unilaterally
Though there is some confusion as to whether the cesses and surcharges levied by the union government and the compensation that has to be given to the states will raise the revenue neutral rate (RNR) of 15-15.5% - the states have yet to agree to this proposal by Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian - the CEA has made some interesting observations. For one, since the compensation will be for a short duration - it will depend upon the tax buoyancy, especially the new service tax receipts for states as it doesn’t make sense to raise the RNR on a permanent basis.

Source: The Financial Express dated 11 August 2016

Did you know?
 The government will be conducting training workshops for 60,000 revenue officials of central and state governments on GST Laws and IT infrastructure framework in a phased manner with the help of the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN) to prepare them for the rollout of the new indirect tax regime by April 2017.

NACEN is the apex institute of the government of India for capacity building in the field of indirect taxation. It plays a vital role in international capacity-building by imparting training to officers of various countries in the field of customs, drug laws and environment protection. 
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